The Namib Desert, one of the top travel destinations in Namibia, is a must-see on safaris to this fascinating part of Southern Africa.
The ochre-coloured dunes of the Namib Desert are iconic of Namibia as a country and the renowned Sossusvlei Dune area of this arid desert region is especially well-loved for its towering red-orange sand dunes.
Namibia's Namib Desert is an ideal place to experience the vastness of Africa's desert landscapes, soaking up the peace and quiet like nowhere else on earth.
The Namib Desert is considered the oldest desert in the world and is also one of the largest.
The name Namib comes from the local word Nama which means 'vast place', with the local people being called the Nama.
Some of the highest dunes in the world are found in the Sossusvlei area, one of the top travel highlights in the Namib. Some of Sossusvlei's tallest dunes, created by the winds, reach over 300m high. Another Namib Desert attraction is the Sesriem Canyon, a deep gorge formed by the Tsauchab River about 2 million years ago.
The dune tops provide endless views over the vast desert landscapes and at night the Namib desert skies light up with a blanket of sparkling stars!
The Namib Desert stretches from the northern Cape Province of South Africa up along the Atlantic coast of Namibia and northwards into southern Angola.
This ancient desert lies between the icy Atlantic Ocean and the escarpment of Namibia's interior plateau. The Namib Desert stretches about 1300 km in length and measures between 50 and 160 km in width. It covers an arid area of around 81 000km² (31 200 mi²) , which means that this fascinating and inhospitable desert is about the same size as Switzerland.
The Namib Desert is the only true desert in southern Africa, receiving less than half an inch (1.3 cm) of rain a year.
There are two distinct seasons in the barren Namib - the rainy and dry seasons. During the dry winters, from May/July to September, the animals congregate at the man-made waterholes, which they depend on for survival. The desert lands become more parched, with cracked salt pans and sparse, shrivelled vegetation.
Days are very hot on average, with temperatures reaching over 100°F (38°C). The average temperature ranges from 65-83°F (18-28°C), but temperatures do fall below freezing on some cold winter nights.
Although the average annual rainfall is low, the rainy season offers the flora and fauna some respite. In the 'rainy' summer season the plants revive, bringing the wildlife and birds back to life.
Use the Google map to explore Namib Desert. Feel free to Print the Street Map when you're ready.